Cinema Retro's DVD Round-up

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer 

As Cinema Retro gets inundated with DVDs to review during the course of any given year, it's virtually impossible to keep up with all of them in a timely manner. Here are some notable titles you should be aware of:

Cabaret Blu-ray (Warner Home Video): Warner Home Video has inherited the rights to Bob Fosse's classic 1972 film adaptation of the stage production that, in turn, was based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories. The Blu-ray comes packaged in one of those irresistible hardback book formats that is loaded with wonderful photos from the movie. The movie itself holds up superbly even after 40 years. The decline of Germany's Weimar Republic amidst the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s is seen through the eyes of nightclub singer Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) and her constant companions (Michael York, Helmut Griem) . Fosse's decision to emphasize the sleaze elements
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'The Sopranos' and 'Seinfeld' top WGA's 'TV 101' list of best-written series ever

'The Sopranos' and 'Seinfeld' top WGA's 'TV 101' list of best-written series ever
The Sopranos was named the best-written show in television history by the Writers Guild of America, edging out an eclectic collection of some of the most beloved and admired series. Members of the Writers Guild of America, West (Wgaw) and the Writers Guild of America, East (Wgae) voted online for the 101 Best Written TV Series, with David Chase’s iconic “family” drama topping Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone, All in the Family, and M*A*S*H*.

“At their core, all of these wonderful series began with the words of the writers who created them and were sustained by the writers
See full article at - Inside TV »

‘The Sopranos’ Leads WGA List of Top TV Series

The Writers Guild of America on Sunday unveiled its list of the “101 Best Written TV Series of All Time,” topped by HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

The mob drama created by David Chase (pictured above right with “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini) led the list over such perennial faves as “Seinfeld” (which ranked No. 2), “All in the Family” (No. 4), “Mash” (No. 5) and “The Wire” (No. 9).

On the other end of the list was a three-way tie between the original NBC “Late Night with David Letterman,” FX’s “Louie” and HBO’s intense prison drama “Oz.”

The list, the results of online voting by members of the WGA West and WGA East, immediately spurred debates over the rankings and omissions. The TV tally was a follow-up to the WGA’s “101 Greatest Screenplays” member survey conducted in 2006.

The WGA’s complete list of TV series follows:


The Sopranos


Created by David Chase


See full article at Variety - TV News »

Interview With Action/Comedy/Thriller 'Bullet in the Face' Creator Alan Spencer

In true, lazy journalist cut-and-paste fashion, here is the ultimate question-and-answer session with Bullet in the Face writer and producer Alan Spencer. The upcoming 6-part TV series starring Eddie Izzard and Eric Roberts airs on IFC, and is darkly comedic, or comedically dark, or absurdly thrilling. There’s just no one way to categorize it (read our review here).

What was the impetus for making Bullet in the Face darker and more violent than most comedies?

You mean when compared to the behind the scenes of Two & a Half Men?

When I originally wrote Sledge Hammer! as a feature film during the late seventies, it was actually quite violent in keeping with the spirit of the genre that inspired it, namely lone vigilante cops that took the law into their own hands and strangled it with a vengeance. The people around town who read it back then, agents and executives,
See full article at Planet Fury »

Paul Simon Plays Intimate Show At Turkana Basin Institute Fundraiser

Paul Simon Plays Intimate Show At Turkana Basin Institute Fundraiser
Dr. Richard Leakey is the first to admit that his friendship with Paul Simon is unlikely. "I really don't like music and he really doesn't like old bones," Leakey told the audience at last night's intimate fundraiser for the Turkana Basin Institute (T.B.I.), a non-profit organization dedicated to assembling a full fossil record of humanity's origins in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Still, the venerable paleontologist and conservationist -- who was introduced last night as "the man many believe responsible for saving the elephant population" of Kenya -- and the legendary folk-rock musician hit it off when the latter paid a visit to T.B.I. about four years ago. Simon's experience there inspired him to propose a benefit concert, which took place last night at the Highline Stages in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.

Real-estate developer Leonard Stern, philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr. and IMAX C.E.O. Richard Gelfond were among the
See full article at Huffington Post »

Review: Fan Favorites The Honeymooners, Happy Days, Hogan’s Heroes

  • Comicmix
The medium of television is often a reflection of our times and sometimes an overly idealized, unrealistic portrayal of American life. As radio programming became nationally broadcast series, they reflected the rural lifestyles and Depression-era standards of its time. As a result, many of these shows were transferred with little change from radio to television. Similarly, as prosperity brighten America’s fortunes, so did the images of life shown in living rooms around the country.

On Tuesday, CBS Home Entertainment released seven samplers of six situation comedies and one drama with the contents selected by the fans themselves. In part one of our review, we’ll be looking at the earliest offerings and seeing what they tell us.

During the 1950s, as conformity and a rising middle class became the norm, those standards became a part of the sitcoms shown on the four networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and Dumont). While
See full article at Comicmix »

Review: 'Contraband' Operates by the Numbers, Loses Count

  • The Wrap
Review: 'Contraband' Operates by the Numbers, Loses Count
While watching “Contraband,” I was reminded of the recent passing of Leonard Stern, inventor of the Mad Libs party game. Mad Libs have entertained people for decades, and no doubt taught countless children the parts of speech, but they seemingly also inspired the screenplay for this dreary, generic movie. Mark Wahlberg stars as a brilliant [Smuggler] who is forced to commit [One Last Job] to save the life of his [Brother-in-law] only to discover that he’s being betrayed by [Character Who Seems Suspiciously Extraneous In The Movie’S First Thirty Seconds]. Directed by
See full article at The Wrap »

Rock Hudson Documentary Synopsis

Rock Hudson Rock Hudson: Dark And Handsome Stranger Documentary The synopsis below of Andrew Davies and Andre Shafer's Rock Hudson: Dark and Handsome Stranger is from the Berlin Film Festival website: Rock Hudson was a dream of a man; the epitome of masculinity: tall, slim and muscular, with a deep, mellifluous voice. His glossy black hair, sparkling eyes, high cheek bones and sensuous lips made Rock Hudson one of the sexiest film stars that Hollywood has ever produced. Twenty-five years ago, shortly before his sixtieth birthday, Rock Hudson died of Aids-related illnesses. He was the first Hollywood celebrity to succumb to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. But who was Rock Hudson really? This documentary sheds light on a famous actor star who performed a clandestine balancing act between his private and public lives; between the heterosexual world of an extremely manly looking screen idol and a darker side of forbidden
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

'Duke Nukem Forever,' Leonard Stern, And 'Game of Thrones' In Today's Twitter Report

The world lost a a treasure this week with the passing of Mad Libs creator Leonard B. Stern. Joe Kelly, among others, expressed his thanks to the man, and we at the Report here echo those words.

On another surprising (yet decidedly more upbeat) note, "Duke Nukem Forever" actually appears to be coming out in a few days. Kieron Gillen was all about that on his account. Karl Kerschl, meanwhile, has been playing "Darksiders," a game which inspired to give a shout-out to Joe Madureira. Those posts and Jim Lee's defense of "Game of Thrones" to Bryan Hitch can be found down below.

I'm @brianwarmoth, and this is the Twitter Report for June 10, 2011.

@JoeKellyMOA Rip Leonard Stern. Writer with exceptional TV pedigree + the co-creator of Mad Libs. Thanks for making life more fun one blank at a time.

-Joe Kelly, Writer ("Action Comics," "I Kill Giants")

@pvponline I
See full article at MTV Splash Page »

Rip Emmy-Winning TV Writer, Mad Libs Creator Leonard Stern

The [adj.] Leonard Stern, Emmy-winning TV writer and co-creator of the popular party game Mad Libs with partner Robert Price, has passed away at the age of 88 in Los Angeles. Stern got his start at 16 years old as a jokewriter for Milton Berle and went on to write for iconic Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners, Get Smart, The Steve Allen Show and 1952 feature The Jazz Singer.

read more
See full article at Filmology »

Rip Emmy-Winning TV Writer, Mad Libs Creator Leonard Stern

The [adj.] Leonard Stern, Emmy-winning TV writer and co-creator of the popular party game Mad Libs with partner Robert Price, has passed away at the age of 88 in Los Angeles. Stern got his start at 16 years old as a jokewriter for Milton Berle and went on to write for iconic Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners, Get Smart, The Steve Allen Show and 1952 feature The Jazz Singer.

read more
See full article at Celebsology »

Leonard Stern, 'Honeymooners,' 'Get Smart' Writer/Producer and Mad Libs Creator, Dies

  • Aol TV.
Filed under: TV News

Leonard Stern made a name for himself writing complete sentences for some of the most iconic TV shows in history, including 'The Honeymooners,' 'Get Smart' and 'McMillan and Wife,' but it's when he co-created a game book that purposefully left words out that his name become known to kids and grown-ups alike. The Mad Libs innovator died Tuesday, June 7 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles following a long illness, his daughter-in-law told the La Times. He was 88.

"A super silly way to fill in the _________!" by Roger Price & Leonard Stern graced the bottom of each Mad Libs, which emerged in 1958. At that point Stern was already a successful writer on 'The Honeymooners,' starring Jackie Gleason.

He began his writing career in film in the early 1950s, but moved on to television. He won an Emmy as part
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Morning Meme: Zach Galifianakis Insults Jesse Tyler, New England Patriot Brett Lockett For NOH8, and Show Us Your Doggleganger

The sexy Josh Lucas is now confirmed for the network television adaptation of The Firm in the role that Tom Cruise originated on the big screen. I’m hoping for more nudity than the movie had.

Tennessee continues to pass laws that make me go Wtf? Today it’s a law banning posting pictures that cause emotional distress. It doesn’t even have to be of you – I could post a bad picture of Darren Criss and one of our diehard Gleeks could claim distress, and if I lived in Tennessee I could go to jail and face thousands in fines. Obviously, this law has Constitutional issues.

Leonard Stern, the writer behind many great series like The Honeymooners and a personal favorite of mine, Get Smart, has passed away at age 87. What was surprising to me was that he also invented on of the great joys of my childhood, Mad Libs.
See full article at The Backlot »

Get Smart Producer Stern Dies

Get Smart Producer Stern Dies
Leonard B. Stern, the man behind classic U.S. TV shows Get Smart and The Honeymooners, has passed away. He was 87.

The writer and producer suffered heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

A three-time Emmy Award winner, Stern started out writing on the The Jackie Gleason Show, where he came up with Honeymooners sketches, which spawned the popular series.

He went on to write 17 episodes of Get Smart and served as executive producer on the spy spoof, which starred Don Adams.

Stern also had a string of film screenplays under his belt, including Just You and Me, Kid and Target.

He is survived by his actress wife of 55 years, Gloria Stroock, a son and a daughter.

Legendary Abbott and Costello and Honeymooners Scribe Leonard Stern Dies at 88

Leonard Stern, who created the seminal '50s sitcom The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and wrote 12 feature films (including two Abbott and Costello vehicles), died on Tuesday at age 88 in Los Angeles. In addition to acting as head writer for The Steve Allen Show and producer of the flat-out funniest show of the '60s, Get Smart, Stern also served as president of the Producers Guild of America. Let's honor his legacy with a clip from one of his first films, a little flick about a dynastic duo venturing overseas.
See full article at Movieline »

Writer, Producer, Director, 'Mad Libs' Co-Creator Leonard Stern Dies at 87

  • The Wrap
Writer, Producer, Director, 'Mad Libs' Co-Creator Leonard Stern Dies at 87
The Emmy Award-winning writer-producer-director Leonard Stern, who wrote for such legendary shows as “The Honeymooners” and “Get Smart,” as well as the 1952 “The Jazz Singer,” died Tuesday. He was 87. Stern’s television credits stretch to 1956’s “The Steve Allen Plymouth Show.” That same year, he wrote for “The Honeymooners” and “The Phil Silvers Show.” Later in his career, he wrote 40 episodes and executive produced 22 episodes of “McMillan & Wife,” starring Rock Hudson. His movie career included the 1952 “Jazz Singer,” starring Danny Thomas, the 1979 “Just You and Me, Kid,”
See full article at The Wrap »

Leonard Stern, Honeymooners and Get Smart Writer, Dies at 88

Leonard Stern, a producer, writer and director who helped create The Honeymooners and Mad Libs, died Tuesday of heart failure, Variety reports. He was 88 years old.

A New York native, Stern got his start in Hollywood in the '50s writing film screenplays, including Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, The Jazz Singer and the Jack Lemmon film Three for the Show. His career shifted to TV, and he began writing for The Jackie Gleason Show.

Stern went on to...

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See full article at TVGuide - Breaking News »

Holiday Gift Guide Countdown: #2 The Complete Get Smart

I wanted this so bad last year. The elevator packaging was one reason. But the main one was that whenever I've caught an episode on TV in the last few years it's made me laugh just as hard as it did when I was a kid watching its initial run. Airing from 1965-1970 Get Smart boasted a writing team that included Buck Henry, Mel Brooks and a young Woody Allen. As an antidote to the obnoxious machismo offered by James Bond and his ilk Max, the Chief and Agent 99 offered plenty of good humor and commentary on the the cold war and the human condition.

Besides all five seasons of the show you get hours and hours of extras done right.

The Collection includes:

• 25 DVDs in special collectors packaging

• 5 eight-page booklets with liner notes written by actor Dave Ketchum (Agent 13) and Alan Spencer, creator of the TV comedy series "Sledge Hammer!
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Caucus lauds industry vets

Caucus lauds industry vets
Industry veterans David Milch, Leonard Stern and James Burrows won top honors at the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors' 22nd annual awards dinner. The event also featured tributes to Fox entertainment president Gail Berman, Warner Bros. Television president Peter Roth, writer-producer Tom Fontana and actor Edward James Olmos. Milch was recognized as producer of the year for his work as creator/executive producer of HBO's Western drama "Deadwood". In accepting the award Thursday night at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Milch joked that he probably didn't deserve such high praise because he'd spent the day on the "Deadwood" set "shooting with two units because we're so far behind." But on a serious note, Milch praised the Caucus as an example of "the collective expression of individuals fighting for our careers."

TV Caucus taps 14 for '05 Honors

Six TV producers, four writers and four directors have been nominated for the 2005 Honors Awards presented by the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors, which made the announcement Tuesday. The producer nominees are Jerry Bruckheimer, Mark Burnett, Marcy Carsey & Tom Werner, David Milch and Gary Smith. Susan Harris, Barry Kemp, Leonard Stern and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason are the writer nominees, while directors James Burrows, Thomas Carter, Mimi Leder and Gene Reynolds also were nominated. The awards will be presented Jan. 13 at the caucus' 22nd annual Dinner & Awards Ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The black-tie event -- co-chaired by Chuck Fries and Lee Miller, with Tom Bergeron (America's Funniest Home Videos) serving as emcee -- is an annual gathering of artistic and creative professionals and executives working in the TV industry who "pay tribute to a producer, writer, director or executive for their innovative, creative and distinctive contribution to the profession." The caucus, chaired by Vin Di Bona, is a multiguild professional organization "that mentors TV producers, writers and directors in their negotiations with the cable and broadcast networks for their creative rights."
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